So as most of you know, I’ve been feeling terrible the last few days. Since my last blog, the pain and nausea seemed to ease up, but mostly because I haven’t been eating.
When I had the attack (flare – whatever) while at work on Tuesday, I called my PCP to see what to do. He wanted to see me this morning, so instead of going to work, I went to Titusville.
My plan was to go to the hospital for my bariatric lab workup before going to see my PCP. (I started fasting right around 6pm last night.) My daughter drove me to the hospital; we arrived around 8:15ish. We waited about fifteen or twenty minutes to be registered, then walked around the corner to the Outpatient Lab. Another fifteen minute wait, and the phlebotomist tells me I have to rest in their presence for fifteen minutes before they can do my Arterial Blood Gas (ABG), and it’s not even my turn yet. I asked if I could have the 18 panels drawn and come back after my appointment for the ABG, but they said no. I then decided to go to my appointment and come back. They assured me that was fine, and they’d put my orders in the computer and have my stickers made (for the vials with the pretty colored tops) when I returned.
Now it’s 9am. We go to my PCP’s office, and get called back to a room right away. The nurse worked me up, told me my blood pressure was a little high, and said the doctor would be in shortly. Along comes 10am, and he walks in, apologizing profusely. (I love my PCP. When he first joined the practice ten or twelve years ago, I was his very first patient. We’ve spent many afternoons in his exam room, either laughing or crying about things. Now my oldest sees him too, and I’m used to him asking me how she’s doing, just as he asks her about me.) He asked how things were, asked about my daughter, and then wanted to know what was going on today. I explained the symptoms I’ve been having and the unknown amount, but significant, weight loss over the last month. He palpated my upper abdomen, which is still very tender, and said he wanted me to have an ultrasound. He said he wanted to put me on an antibiotic for the inflammation in my gall bladder, and said he’d write something up for the reflux, as he thought it possible I could alternately/also have an ulcer. I told him very emphatically NO!, stating that I’m scheduled for an EGD next Friday, and don’t want to do or take anything that might help any erosion. (Some of you may think that’s dumb. Why suffer? But I can suffer through a week of reflux if it means the erosion I already have doesn’t get any better, and helps the cause with the Highmark approval process.) He said okay but just for the week. I agreed. I also showed him the list of bloodwork panels Dr. Ali had ordered and he was stunned! Impressed, but surprised. I told him if there was anything he thought I might need in addition to the list, and he said no, everything he would’ve ordered was already ordered. I asked him if it was possible to get my EKG at the hospital, and he said yes, so I decided to go ahead and get everything done today, so I wouldn’t have to take another day off work. With that, we left for the hospital.
At the hospital, though I was already registered for my bloodwork/ABG, I had to register for everything else: the ultrasound, the chest xrays and EKG. From registration, we went to Imaging for the u/s and xrays. The tech that did my imaging said that she didn’t see any gallstones, but said it was possible for it to be diseased without them. I might have to have a HIDA scan if my symptoms continue. She also did my xrays, which were easy peasy.
Then a very nice lady from SPU came over and took me there for my EKG. While there, she told me about her son who had Gastric Bypass 15 months ago, and who has lost 200 pounds (going from 550 to 345). She said the best piece of advice she could give me was do everything the doctors said, and I replied that I was trying very hard to do just that. The EKG took all of five minutes, then I went back to the lab.
The phlebotomists at Titusville are very sweet ladies. I never stopped talking, and they were both very kind and willing to answer all my questions. They had to call in a third woman to do my ABG, and as one of them was putting on my tourniquet for the blood draw, she said I could sit in the chair I was in and wait for 15 minutes for the ABG. In the meantime, I watched them dig around for a vein for quite a while, and then draw 10 tubes of blood. TEN!! I was surprised I didn’t feel light headed. (They did offer me juice, but I declined.)
I sat quietly in the chair and watched them go about their work until the ABG lady came in. I told her about my day, and that this was what I was least excited about. My mother had DVT when I was in high school, and I can remember hearing her cry every time they came in to do an ABG. I was nervous, for sure, but she was very sweet and calming. The other lady, who had an English accent, came over to talk to me and keep me calm, I think. It took a bit for her to find the artery, and once the needle was in, she had to fish around a bit for it, but it only took a minute and then it was over. I’m not going to say it didn’t hurt, but it was more pressure than anything. I’m just glad it’s done. After that, I went to work. By the time I got there (the hospital is an hour away), it was 2:00pm. Hardly worth it to go in, but I did anyway.
So now, it’s been almost 25 hours since I last ate. I did drink some water this afternoon, but there is a part of me that is afraid to eat. And if I do eat, I have to try and make sure it’s something that doesn’t make me sick. I’d love a cheeseburger but it’ll probably be non-fat yogurt and fruit. Maybe a little granola on top? Woo hoo look at me, living dangerously.
So that’s my update. I don’t really know a lot more now than I did before. I think the test will be how I react to food tonight and over the weekend. If there’s any justice, it’s just a flare, that’s almost over. Cross your fingers.
Be kind to each other and be well,